Building Escape – Battlefield 4 – Xbox One

During Multiplayer Matchmacking game, building I was in began to collapse and I escaped just in time. It was pretty epic.

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It’s all in the details

I was playing Fifa 14 on Xbox One yesterday and was blown away with one small thing.  Yes the graphics are very good, and the gameplay looks better than previous games.  Sure the game plays well and provides a pretty real football experience, but it was a small little bit with the commentary that really caught me and impressed me.  We know that sports games are continually trying to give the most realistic experience possible, and EA is on the right path in FIFA 14.  As I was playing my career mode in the middle of a game, the commentary was broken with an update from another game happening in the career game world.  The new voice reporter began tell of a Manchester City penalty being awarded and being taken, but as he was giving his report, I got a scoring chance in my game.  Martin Tyler interrupted the other game report to give the play-by-play of my chance, leading to a goal.  When the goal was over and done with, Martin Tyler referred back to the reporter’s goal news, apologizing for his interruption and delivering the news that Man City had converted the penalty.  

This felt like a real broadcast.  A new report from elsewhere, delivered by a third voice, then interrupted as a chance occurs in the present game, and then referring to the interrupting and completing the report.  This blew me away.  In some games, you get that sort of thing where commentators will be cut-off, but it is just the programming.  I am happy to see what is being done now and excited to see the future of sports games as companies continue to try to deliver as real an experience as possible.  

It’s the little things that make a game great and really sell the in-game world as real.  Keep it up and keep improving!

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Evil Dead Short Story – Fan Fiction

I’m a fan of the movies and was lying in bed when this little story idea came to me so I wrote it down.  Hopefully there is no copyright infringement here haha. Enjoy!

Evil Dead – Fan Fiction

“Oh my, that was scary!” said Sarah, closing her eyes and hugging Chris.  She cuddled him on the couch, her arms wrapped around his torso.  He sat upright, his arm over her shoulders and gave her a squeeze.

“Yeah, but it was so good!  Really does credit to the original.  Can’t wait for Evil Dead Remake 2,” said Chris. 

“Yeah, but I need time to get un-scared,” Sarah giggled as she said the non-existent word.  “I’ll just hold you until I’m better ok?”  Chris looked down at her and smiled. 

            They sat on the couch in the small apartment.  The only light coming from the lamp in the corner, casting shadows across the room and bathing them in a soft light.  After what felt like an hour, Sarah sat up on the couch, fell away from Chris onto the other side and said, as she closed her eyes, “wanna go to bed hunny?” 

She didn’t hear a response so she opened her eyes to look at him.  He sat perfectly upright and turned only his head as he began to speak, “we’re gonna get you,” he said in a masked voice.

Sarah’s eyes widened as confusion washed over her face.  “What?” she said nervously.

Chris’ body slumped into a natural state, no longer the rigid posture from seconds before.  “You know what was missing, that iconic scene.  When the possessed girl is in that basement hatch and then she says ‘we’re gonna get you.’  I mean, it was in the trailers, but not the final cut,” said Chis in his normal voice.

“Ohh, ha ha,” Sarah said, “I gotchya.  Yeah, oh well.  She closed her eyes and asked him again, “Shall we go to bed? It is kinda late.”

She didn’t hear him respond but felt him get up off the couch.  She squinted open her eyes to see him walk over to the bathroom.  “I’ll take that as a yes,” she quietly said to herself.  She waited on the couch as the minutes passed by, no sound coming from the bathroom.  She didn’t notice the absence of sound until ten minutes had passed and he had yet to return.  She looked at the bathroom door from the couch on the opposite side of the room.  She looked at the sliver of light coming from under the door.  She saw flickers of light and shadow.  He was in there.  He was moving. 

“Are you okay, babe?” she said, sitting up on the couch.  Concern fell upon her as she said out to him, “Babe, what’s wrong? Everything okay in there?”  No response.  She got up off the couch and walked over to the bathroom door.  She knocked three times before trying the knob.  It turned slowly in her hand and she pushed to door open. 

Chris was standing with his back to the door.  She took a step inside and reached to touch his back when she noticed the blood dripping on the floor.  A pool of red had gathered at Chris’ feet.

“Oh my God! What happened!” She shouted as the pulled his shoulder to turn him around.  She let out a scream as he turned around and revealed the source of the blood.

In his right hand were a pair of nail scissors, and in his left hand was a piece of his cheek and upper lip,   He pulled the skin off his face, cutting with the scissors as he did.  He did so silently, as though he felt nothing.  A blank expression on his face.  Eyes staring straight through Sarah, as if looking into her soul. 

Sarah stood in shock as Chis finished cutting off the piece of skin.  He dropped the scissors and the clattered across the floor.  Blood dripped and oozed from the wound.  Sarah took a step backwards as Chris raised his hand and flung the piece of skin at her.  It hit her face with a wet smack.  Blood spattered across her face.  She staggered backwards and fell over onto her back. 

Sarah sat up and started to shuffle herself backwards on the floor away from the bathroom door.  Chris half-smiled from the doorway, his skin now a pale grey, eyes a brownish yellow.  His veins rose from his skin.  He moved with an awkward lurching movement as he stepped out of the bathroom.  “You are going to die tonight,” He said, the masked voice returning from earlier.  He cackled as he stepped forward again towards her. 

“Oh God, please no!” shouted Sarah, “How is this possible!”  She scrambled backwards until she slammed into the couch.

Nowhere to hide now!”

BANG! A loud thump at the door of the apartment.  Sarah turned to look towards the door and then back at Chris.  He had stopped moving too.  He had heard the sound, so it wasn’t just in her head. 

BANG!  There it was again.  Another thump at the apartment door, this time harder.  With a third BANG, the door crashed open.  It slammed into the wall of the small entrance-way to the apartment, bits of door and frame spraying into the air.  Splinters of wood flew forward and in a cloud of sawdust, in stepped a man. 

He was tall and slim, but muscular.  His wavy dark hair was wet with sweat and grease.  His face was determined with large brown eyes and a chin that stuck out predominantly.  He was dirty, looked like he had been through hell to get there.  His navy shirt was blood-soaked and torn across the stomach and shoulders.  His brown pants were splattered with more blood and dirt.  In his left hand was a sawn-off shotgun and where his right hand should have been was a chainsaw, rudimentarily attached to the stump of his wrist.  The light from the hallway glowed behind this random savior of the night. 

Sarah took it all in from her position on the floor.  She was baffled to see this man, standing in her apartment.  So awestruck in fact, that she forgot about the demonic creature that used to be her boyfriend, lunging toward her. 

The mysterious man jumped forward and landed a kick to the demon’s ribs, sending him flying across the room, crashing into a side-table.  The demon’s arm smacked into a radio as he fell, turning it on.  Elvis Presley’s Hound Dog began playing through the radio.

“Hail to the King, baby,” said the stranger.  The demon lay motionless on the floor.  Sarah got up and, unable to speak from shock, reached forward and gave him a hug, thanking him for her rescue.

“Oh you’re welcome,” he said, squeezing her back with the chainsaw arm. 

“Thank you. . .” she trailed off, not knowing the man’s name. 

“Ash,” he said with a smile. 

She looked up at him, still in disbelief, and hugged him again, burying her face in his chest. 

There was a crash from behind them, a blood-curdling yell, and suddenly Ash released from the hug, turning around as he raised his shotgun up, perfectly timed with the lunge of the demon.  The barrel of the shotgun sunk into the demon’s open mouth and stopped it in its tracks.  Ash smiled and pulled the trigger, blasting its head clean off in a spray of blood. 

“Groovy.”

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Chopper Takedown – Battlefield 4

Blowing up a chopper in Battlefield 4 multiplayer on Xbox One

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Ryse: Son of Rome – Review

Ryse_box_art

Ryse: Son of Rome, a trip back in time, but from the future.  Well, if I lost you there, bare with me.  Ryse: Son of Rome, from Crytek and Microsoft Studios, was one of the hyped up launch titles for Xbox One.  It puts you in the armour and behind the sword and shield of a Roman warrior during those ancient times we know through actual history books, but mainly watching Gladiator.

The game does exactly what it promises.  Puts you in battles as a Roman soldier and delivers a gory, but believable experience.  The battles are fierce and the executions are brutal.  The game features two modes, a single player campaign and an arena battle set up in the Coliseum.  The latter can be played solo or via co-op.

The single player campaign is 6-8 hours long, depending on the difficulty and how well you play the game, but it is a satisfying experience.  The story follows Marius, your character, as he battles his way from soldier to general.  Without spoiling anything, the story is pretty well written and told very well.   Through battles with enemies, you can gain XP and upgrade Marius’ abilities, health and executions.  In one play-through, you can pretty well unlock everything except the highest tier upgrades, which are pretty expensive.  You can unlock things by spending XP, or earned gold (from the Coliseum mode) or you can buy gold through the Microsoft Store.

Execution

Execution

While the game is mainly a hack ’em and slash ’em, there are perks your character has that you can use while battling.  Each option gives you a bonus when you execute enemies.  Using the D-pad, you can select from a Health Gain, Focus Gain, Damage Boost, or XP Gain.  When you execute enemies, the option you have selected will award you bonuses.

Focus is a great ability that allows Marius to slow time briefly, your Focus meter drains when you use it and fills with hits, combos and executions, and stun nearby enemies.  This is extremely helpful when fighting tougher enemies or you are overwhelmed with enemies attacking you.

Executions are preformed when, after making several connections with your sword or shield on an opponent, a skull appears over their heads.  You click the right trigger to go into an execution and then follow a quick time event to perform the brutal and satisfying finishing move.  The enemy will glow yellow (Y button) or blue (X button) and the faster you press, the higher the score multiplier gets.  While you will see the same executions over and over, you can unlock more with XP and gold, and perform double executions that look awesome.

Bridge Battle Execution

Bridge Battle Execution

The game also uses the Kinect for voice commands.  As odd as it may be, yelling at your AI companions to fire a volley of arrows or launch a catapult is extremely satisfying.

The campaign features four difficulty levels, and collectibles in the level you need to find.  There is some replayability if you want to collect all hidden collectibles for achievements, or complete the game on higher difficulty settings.  But once the campaign is done, it’s off to the Coliseum for some Gladiator battles.

In the Coliseum, you are a gladiator fighting several waves of enemies ranging from standard barbarians, to elite barbarians and archers.  You are not only killing enemies, but trying to execute them so as to keep the crowd interested.  After all, the Coliseum isn’t only about surviving, it’s about providing quality entertainment for the audience.  You will have to kill enemies that come in waves, capture and hold positions on the map and destroy catapults and bunkers by tipping fiery oil cauldrons onto them.  Passing each wave will lead to completing the round and you can then choose to play again on the same or another map.  The tasks to perform in each wave are always random and different, though the tend to end on fighting off the elite barbarians.  Each time you play, whether you complete the round or die trying, you earn XP and gold to be spent on Boost Packs.  These packs open up consumables and attire for your gladiator to wear.  The armour pieces will have enchanted qualities to them.  For example, a helmet may give you a 4% health boost, but lower the crowd’s amusement by 2%.  There are tons to choose from as you continue to open packs so you can tailor your gladiator to your liking.  There are several levels of booster packs, that are unlocked as you level up your character through the XP earned in the Coliseum.

The Coliseum is good fun to play on your own, but you can also play cooperatively with a friend or random Xbox Live player.  With two of you battling, you have a greater chance of survival, and the ability to perform devastating two-player executions.

Overall, Ryse: Son of Rome is a good game and a fun launch title.  The graphics are fantastic, cut scenes look absolutely astounding.  The game doesn’t feature tons of types of gameplay, but focuses on two, and delivers them very well.  I did have some problems with it though, my main issue being that this is the next-generation of gaming and yet there are really only four or so types enemies to fight, so you do see a lot of the same guys.  I would like to see a huge number of different looking baddies to fight, so it doesn’t feel so repetitive.

On a side note, Ryse does include compatibility with Xbox Smartglass, allowing you to view progress of missions and achievements, though on my HTC One, I did not find it particularly helpful, as the resolution on the screen was minuscule and I couldn’t properly take advantage of it.

I have been playing it for six days now, and I can say that I enjoy playing it and I give it an 8/10.  It is great fun and I hope to see more from the series, as Microsoft is aiming to make it a returning franchise.

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A heavy dose of irony (26 Photos)

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Final Stand on the Bridge – Ryse: Son of Rome (Xbox One)

This is a second clip i made via the Game DVR and Upload Studio on Xbox One. It is from the single player campaign of Ryse: Son of Rome. Just a cool action sequence I thought I’d share. The game itself is pretty fun, surprisingly so, and if you can, check it out.

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